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[her-oh-in] /ˈhɛr oʊ ɪn/
noun, Pharmacology
a white, crystalline, narcotic powder, C 21 H 23 NO 5 , derived from morphine, formerly used as an analgesic and sedative: manufacture and importation of heroin are now controlled by federal law in the U.S. because of the danger of addiction.
Origin of heroin
1895-1900; formerly trademark; < German Heroin < Greek hērō-, stem of hḗrōs hero + German -in -in2; allegedly so called from the feelings of power and euphoria which it stimulates
Can be confused
heroin, heroine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heroin
  • Somebody bring me some white bread to eat and a spoon for cooking my heroin.
  • The threat of relapse hangs over any attempt to kick a heroin addiction.
  • The rehabilitation clinics that serve them specialise in treating heroin and crack-cocaine addiction.
  • Opium production has been reduced, but heroin trafficking is still a problem.
  • Today's three main illegal drugs are marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
  • While best known as a food-borne germ, the contaminant has appeared in heroin with deadly outcomes.
  • Methadone has been used for years to help heroin addicts quit spiking up.
  • Most opium, which is derived from poppies, is converted into heroin.
  • Before her nitrous oxide binge, the junkie had used heroin and enrolled in a methadone program.
  • heroin can turn your pious brother into a double agent of treachery you will never trust.
British Dictionary definitions for heroin


a white odourless bitter-tasting crystalline powder related to morphine: a highly addictive narcotic. Formula: C21H23NO5 Technical names diamorphine, diacetylmorphine
Word Origin
C19: coined in German as a trademark, probably from hero, referring to its aggrandizing effect on the personality
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heroin

1898, from German Heroin, coined 1898 as trademark registered by Friedrich Bayer & Co. for their morphine substitute, traditionally from Greek heros (see hero (n.1)) because of the euphoric feeling the drug provides, but no evidence for this seems to have been found so far.

A new hypnotic, to which the name of "heroin" has been given, has been tried in the medical clinic of Professor Gerhardt in Berlin. ["The Lancet," Dec. 3, 1898]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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heroin in Medicine

heroin her·o·in (hěr'ō-ĭn)
A white, bitter, crystalline compound that is derived from morphine and is a highly addictive narcotic. Also called diacetylmorphine.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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heroin in Science
A white, odorless, bitter crystalline compound, C17H17NO(C2H3O2)2, that is derived from morphine and is a highly addictive narcotic.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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